WHEN DOES THE MISGENDERING STOP??? This isn’t a rhetorical question, so if you are reading this and you have an answer, please comment here or on my facebook posting…it’s making me crazy. Maybe it isn’t my place to be so worked up over it, Laine doesn’t seem to be, in fact he has to remind me to breathe in these moments…but it seriously makes me crazy. I know I am jaded, as I see him for who he is, and to me that is male. He, him, his. I expect everyone else to do the same and yes I know that is unrealistic only 8.5 weeks into hormone treatment, but I can see the changes, why cant other people???? (He is shaving every 3 days to keep the mustache growth under control…that is pretty quick progress if you ask me!)
I’m not talking about friends and family either, I understand that is a process…for those people that have known him as “she” for years, months, or even weeks prior to transition, I get it. It takes 3 days to create a habit and 21 days to break one. For those who personally know him, it is a process, and you all have been wonderful about making the necessary adjustments and correcting your pronouns when appropriate. (Except for my future mother in law, but I’ve already explained that situation…to date there are no changes.)
I am referring to the general public. Those who have no idea who Laine is or what pronoun he goes by. We as a society make way too many assumptions in life. Waitresses at any given restaurant “Have a nice day ladies!” (I want to respond with “Thanks I will, and HE would too if you used the proper pronouns!!”) Greeters within the antique stores in Palm Springs…PALM SPRINGS…one of the LGBT capitals of America…but again, the T is excluded there and if you are not a gay man then you MUST be a lesbian couple and therefore Laine MUST be a butch lesbian, who happens to be wearing a clearly visible pendant around his neck of the Trans* symbol. Pretty sad when our own community needs some 101 training on the basics, what does that symbol mean again?
If I ran the country, (hmm that’s a scary thought) I would require all customer service related job fields to be trained in gender-neutral pronouns, or communication that excludes pronouns. “Have a great day!” would be sufficient, drop the “ladies” from the end of that. Everyone needs to quit making assumptions. (Of course this would be beneficial in all aspects of life I do believe…most assumptions tend to land everyone in more trouble than not.) While we are in the process of training society about proper pronoun use, we’ll also be renovating every public restroom into a gender-neutral facility. No more “pants and capes” on the door. No “M or W” on the shiny little plaque. Just individual single stall bathrooms that are open to everyone. (#Puskar2016) Just Kidding…but only about the election hashtag, the rest I am drop dead serious about, society needs to make some changes.
One of the best ways to push for changes is to educate. That is part of the reason we tell our story so openly; although this is a very personal and private process, we invite you all in to experience it with us. People are curious and they have questions. If you think about how we learn as children it involves about 400 questions per day…why stop as adults? If the answer to your question will help you better understand something you are unfamiliar with, then ask the question in a respectful manner. There is very little information for public consumption surrounding personal experiences with this process. There are even less options for the experience of partners like myself. That is why Monday morning I completed a Skype interview with Elspeth Brown, a researcher out of Toronto. She is focusing her study on historicizing the experiences of the partners of Trans*men, specifically those who were with their partner before and during transition. Her goal is to document our stories and get them written down.
If you happen to be reading this and are a partner of an FTM individual and you two were together pre-transition and then during transition, or know someone who is (and this is NOT just for the cis-gender females either, it is for any partner of a Trans*man, no matter how you identify) check out her website at:
Her email address is located on the page where you can contact her if you are interested in being a part of the study and sharing your own story regarding your partner’s transition. (It’s all done using anonymous alias’) She also has a fabulous list of resources on her page for partners of FTM individuals, or anyone looking for more information on the process in general.